Thursday, April 30, 2009

The Road to Recovery-Postpartum

In one of my blog posts I talked about how training for the Boston Marathon was like being pregnant - and I know all about being pregnant because I had twins! Well, since training was like being pregnant and having my body go through changes at warp speed (black toenails, blisters, food cravings and all), recovery is like post partum. My body had been tested, challenged, stretched, and used to the max. I poured it all out on Marathon Monday to finish a grueling 26.2 mile run with headwinds and a chill in the air. And now, I am in the post partum phase - only thank God there is no crying children to wake me up at night - an occasional meow'ing from our cat Alex, but that's about it.

Just like postpartum recovery, there are no hard and fast rules about what to do during this time of recovery. Everyone's body is different. My husband and daughter have already resumed running. Me? I was so happy to take a 4.5 mile walk today in the glorious spring sunshine, hearing the birds, seeing everything burst forth with new life. I am bursting forth with new life. I am focusing on my passion of creating customized poetry, sharing my journey at various venues and promoting my book of inspirational poetry. True to the turtles that God sent me as signs, I am slowing down and ironically, I am accomplishing more because I am focusing on what my goals are and I am remembering what life used to be like for me to celebrate with overflowing gratitude to God that I am where I am today.

Just a little over a year ago, it was difficult for me to enjoy taking a walk outside. I remember the day Team McManus went for a walk on Wollaston Beach - after 20 minutes I needed to stop! Ever since I can remember, I did not feel comfortable in my body. The last time I had felt comfortable and free in my body was in ballet class when I was 5 years old right before the polio virus hit. Since then, it had been one struggle after another - multiple surgeries for one thing or another, battling being overweight, pregnancy (well that was a joyful experience but a stress on my body nevertheless), and then post polio syndrome. I remember pushing myself to just walk home from the train station, adrenaline pumping because I was so tired and my muscles were screaming because they were being pushed way beyond their limits. And then relief came in the form of Post Polio Syndrome.

When I first walked with a leg brace and a cane, I felt relief that my left leg did not have to work so hard to compensate for its weakness and being shorter than my right leg. I was so grateful to use a wheelchair when I traveled because walking through airports drained my energy. I had learned to accept my limitations, love myself where I was and then the road from post polio to the Boston Marathon was paved with love - love for myself and the outpouring of love from healing angels, friends, family and strangers.

Reaching the finish line on Boylston Street was an amazing accomplishment - an outstanding achievement of which I am so incredibly proud and grateful. And now, for the first time in my life I can experience a freedom and fearlessness in my body. Sure, there is still a little soreness in my muscles - after all - I went from 0-60 in running during this past year but there is a spring in my step and a confidence in my walk and gratitude overflowing in my heart. I am figuring out how to fuel my body and listen to what it needs. I have cut down on carbs and increased protein and fruits and veggies but I still eat a lot throughout the day fueling my body with whatever it tells me it needs. Peanut butter seems to be a new craving. I am so patient and loving with this body that allowed me to use it to express that with God everything is possible and impossible is nothing. I take long hot showers and stretch and strengthen my core. I do the exercises that Janice, my energy healer/physical therapist prescribed for me on Monday on a regular basis throughout the day.

And for my mind and spirit? I am going full throttle with New World Greeting Cards and listening for Divine Direction. I am so excited to have submitted a proposal for the Mass. Poetry Festival in October. I have discovered my niche in the world of poetry - as one reviewer wrote about my book last year,
"Although never formally trained in poetry, McManus' work is not the sophisticated poetry of journals. It is unashamedly sentimental and sincere with simple rhyme schemes reflecting early indoctrination in Dr. Seuss - he was the childhood favorite she would read prior to painful polio treatments. But the directness of McManus' poetry,anchored in spiritual faith and positive energy, has brought her enthusiastic fans around the world." - Karen Campbell, freelance writer

It has taken me awhile to fully realize and cherish my gift. I was trying to fit into the poetry circles rather than celebrate my own unique style of poetry. I now celebrate that poetry is a gift from God; it is the beautiful river that runs through me and brings such healing and joy to me and those whose lives I bless with this gift. New life, rebirth - NEW WORLD!

To order a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" log onto my website These are the poems which inspired my body, mind and spirit to heal after being diagnosed with post polio syndrome and enabled me to go on to run and finish the 113th Boston Marathon.

For Mother's Day and all of your special occasions this spring and summer, be sure to let New World Greeting Cards create your customized poetry - It's more than a card, it's a gift from the heart.

You can still make a donation to Team McManus at

God bless and I am so happy that I made it to the finish line!

Tuesday, April 28, 2009

You are Here-Celebrating the Moment and Giving Thanks for What Is

This past Saturday I was blessed to do a book signing at Wonderland Books in Putnam, CT. It is an old fashioned independent bookstore where the regulars gather on a Saturday to drink their coffee and get caught up on what is happening in each other's lives. The owner, Patty knows everyone by name. She orders books which she may not have in stock and greets the customer's by name when they come in to pick up their order. She helps the local teenagers find the perfect gift for their friends. In addition to books, she has Putnam, CT souvenirs, hand made soaps, a variety of stuffed animals, gift bags, jewelry and games. The shop is overflowing with items to please everyone's taste. And right next to the table where I did my book signing was a round circle akin to a dart board-with a bright red arrow and in red letters YOU ARE HERE. I kept bumping into the sign and was wondering what God was trying to tell me and this morning, I had my AHA moment.

I am here - right now in this moment celebrating this moment and celebrating all the moments that have gotten me here. I celebrate all the pain, and the grueling physical, emotional and spiritual challenge I experienced during the past 15 months of training, and all that went before - the 'good, the bad and the ugly.' In truth, it all unfolded the way it was supposed to. Yesterday, the DVD arrived from WBZ TV news which shows Team McManus lining up for the early start of the 113th Boston Marathon and as Lisa Hughes announces, 'there are so many stories of inspiration and courage' on the voice over, there is a shot of Team McManus. And we can be seen taking our first steps along the Marathon route. I continue to take in what this experience has meant for me, for my family and for so many people and to feel the overwhelming joy and gratitude for what I was able to achieve. I am also celebrating all the moments that led up to the starting line - and am so grateful that God gave me the strength, faith, courage and determination to overcome all the challenges of the past and move forward in joy. The finish line is in fact, a starting line.

So what's next for this 55 year old polio/post polio survivor poet? God is sending me signs - when my daughter and I walked around Jamaica Pond the other day and the Chestnut Hill Reservoir today (we walked for over 3.5 miles) I am seeing turtles - everywhere - families of turtles, turtles in the water and turtles on the land. We all know the story of the turtle and the hare and who wins? The humble, modest turtle who plods along at his own pace not thinking I better speed up and beat out that hare. And now, it's my time to relax and just be in the flow celebrating my accomplishments and being so grateful for every step I can now take with ease. I am so grateful for the joy that I have created in the world both through my physical accomplishment and my gifts of the spirit and heart. I am so grateful for the opportunities to share these gifts through social media,speaking opportunities and through the media. The documentary, "Keeping the Pace" is going to reach so many more people and bring hope that with God anything is possible. I am so grateful that I am healthy and whole in mind, body and spirit and can continue to grow in love both for myself and for others. I am so grateful that I have the opportunity to bless lives through my gift of poetry - through my book and through the customized poetry I create. I am so grateful I can give back and donate 20% of the proceeds of the sale of my book to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

My health and fitness goals? Well, first and foremost I am continuing to recover from the Marathon. I have exercises recommended by my energy healer and this weekend will do a gentle run. I made a decision today after seeing so many turtles that I am going to run 5 and 10K's but don't need to push myself on distances beyond that. I want to feel comfortable running a good pace and I want to just feel the utter joy in challenging myself but not pushing myself beyond limits. I will continue to work with my beloved trainer, Janine Hightower and we are going to work on strength training. I also am going to practice yoga and I am going to take some dance lessons. And when my E G O (edging God out) tries to take hold, I return to embracing the moment and knowing and feeling in the depths of my soul that All is Well and in Divine Order and appearances can be very deceiving.

I am here and life is good - life is phenomenal! I can appreciate each moment with its joys and with its challenges because I am so grateful just to be alive!

To order a copy of my book of customized poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" go to

For all of your special occasions, give more than a card - give a gift from the heart

You can still donate to Team McManus at

Sunday, April 26, 2009

Celebrating the Hero Within

Celebrate the Hero Within

“Heroism may be the only way to love. Heroism can't be preached; it has only to show itself, and its mere presence may stir others to action.” Henri Bergson

Every morning when I awake, I see a painting created by a former patient of mine at the VA. He became a quadriplegic as a result of multiple sclerosis. He had never painted before the diagnosis of MS. He had the courage to share the blessing and the gift which emerged from the greatest challenge of his life. As he lost his vision and use of his arms and became a quadriplegic, he painted with a paint brush between his teeth. I received the gift of the painting because I would feed him at our MS support group meetings.

Being a hero means having the courage to be true to myself and to move in the direction of my dreams. I have a confession to make; I have been a reluctant hero. I have received so many emails and Tweets saying “You are my hero.” Huh – wait a minute. Who me? I'm somebody's hero? Our friends who were at the post race party overlooking Boylston Street said that as Team McManus approached the finish line, they were cheering as though they were watching Lance Armstrong win the Tour de France. People have been in tears because of my act of courage and heroism – to overcome post polio syndrome and take on the challenge of the Boston Marathon – and to succeed!

Why was I a reluctant hero? I was listening to the voices and behavior of those around me from the past. The ones who begrudgingly chose me last for their team in gym class and a family who rejected and abused me. Being in the spotlight before was an invitation for ridicule and abuse. But that came from people who were blind to see the heroes within themselves. How could I possibly expect them to see the hero inside of me? The hero who went to school every day with a leg brace; who excelled academically despite a chaotic home life; the hero who went on to serve those who served and despite debilitating illness, put the needs of my patients first and the hero who dared to conquer post polio syndrome to run in the 113th Boston Marathon to raise over $10,000 for Spaulding Rehab.

After the Marathon run was over, a part of me wanted to retreat into my old 'safe' world; yet ironically, that 'safe' world is fraught with fear and doubt, and a world in which I remain a victim. My passport has been revoked to travel to the land of victimhood. When I crossed the finish line it became a starting line for me to share my journey and to share my gifts with the world.

Last night, someone I met at the Hyannis Half Marathon called me to congratulate me and tell me I was his hero. He wanted to hear all about my journey on the road to the Boston Marathon. I recalled the countless orthopedic surgeries and rehab; I recalled the intensive rehab following the diagnosis of post polio syndrome; I recalled the leap of faith I took to leave the security of my full time job and paycheck at the VA to follow my passion and to share my gift of poetry with the world. I recalled running in cold and ice and I recalled all the blessings and grace I experienced along this journey. I recalled the incredible people I have met – such as himself and the lives I have already touched with my courage and heart.

Every time I share my journey and realize what strength, beauty and courage I possess to have overcome the challenges in my life, the scales of fear fall away and I realize it is time to step into my role as a hero. Me, a hero? You bet I am and so are you!

Friday, April 24, 2009

Running a Marathon – Running my Life

Whether running the Boston Marathon or running my life, there are invaluable lessons which I learned during this journey.

Keep my own pace – in this world of cut throat competition and everyone wanting to edge everyone out, it is crucial that I stick to my own steady pace. It is important to be self contained and not allow the crush of the crowd to overwhelm me or veer me away from what I know to be true. There was a crush of runners after the first wave of runners started in Hopkinton who caught up with us after we had our early start. They were pushing and shoving me and one person even commented, “Lady, you can't be walking here.” Part of my race strategy was to walk through every water station to ensure that I had adequate hydration. I ignored him and felt that I had a right to be walking. Despite the jeers from some runners that I was running slowly, I was not going to speed up my pace just to please someone else and risk an injury.

Stay focused and balanced – there are many distractions in life with email, cell phones, Twitter, on line communities as well as the lure of the get rich quick schemes. I am so grateful for modern ways to communicate and especially for social networking but it is important that I not lose sight of my goals and dreams and get swept away by the lure of just so much stimulation. It is important to remain focused and balanced. During the Marathon, there were many distractions – runners passing us by and some even splattering gatorade at our feet, well wishers wanting hi fives and low fives, and an incredible offering of food and beverage – sausage, beer, cookies. Just as I do in life, I had to choose wisely from the crowd (and I am so grateful to the wonderful thoughtful people who peeled bananas and handed them to us and orange slices in plastic bags so we could carry them on our way) and conserve my energy to stay focused for the 26.2 mile journey. I learned the importance of having cheerleaders in my life and am so grateful to those who chanted, “Go Mary, Go Mary!”

Believing in myself – I held fast to the belief that I would, no matter what, finish the Boston Marathon. As runners who were younger, faster, obviously more comfortable than I on the marathon course were passing by, I had to tenaciously hold to this belief or I would have just quit. I could not look to the left or the right of me but put one foot in front of the other and know I was on the right path. I have chosen a career as an entrepreneur and poet. The same unwavering faith which I held to which allowed me to cross the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon against all odds, is now being channeled into expansion and continuing to create the life of my dreams.

Confidence and strength comes from within – I felt God's presence with me with each step I took and I know that God is with me on every step of my life's journey. With confidence and strength I move forward knowing that I can accomplish anything I set out to do if it is aligned with my highest good.

The only thing I can control is my thoughts, feeling, perceptions and attitude – Peace and going with the flow is the only way to run a Marathon and to live my life! Oh how I wanted to control the weather (although at times I would talk to the wind and ask it to please change direction and it would listen at times), control my teammates, and control my body but the lesson I learned is that when I let go and accept and then create my thoughts and feelings in response to whatever is presented to me, there can only be positive outcomes. When the headwinds would blow, it reminded me of my own inner strength and it reminded me that I cannot pay attention to the clock but steadfastly put one foot in front of the other, and know that I will arrive at my destination. When the snow and ice fell, God had always created a path for me to run on and on days when we could not run outside, God provided us with an indoor track or the inspiration to cross train on the bicycle. I had prayed that this would be the mildest winter ever because, after all, I had to go outside and train for the Marathon. God taught me that I could overcome my intolerance to cold and behold a world I had never seen before in winter – a true winter wonderland. When I saw my teammates take off or run up a hill with relative ease, at first I would be reminded of my days as a polio survivor and feel such resentment and anger. I wanted to control them and have them go at my pace. That attitude was not going to get me to any finish line – so I had to celebrate me and focus on my life's journey releasing the anger, resentment and jealousy I felt. God taught me that I need to be still and listen to the Voice within – to stop fighting against and to find the way to go in the flow.

And on Monday, April 20th, I was in the flow and crossed the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon which is also the starting line for the next phase of my life's journey. Wonderful adventures await......

Be sure to log onto and order a book of my inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". I donate 20% of the proceeds to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

Mother's Day is right around the corner - check out my samples of customized poems at and contact me to create more than a card -- a gift from the heart.

There's still time to donate to Team McManus; log onto and donate to Spaulding Rehab Hospital where remarkable recoveries like mine happen every day!

Thursday, April 23, 2009

Mental Toughness-Overcoming the Challenges

When it comes to mental toughness, I learned at an early age about mind over matter. If I would have listened to the pain created by the polio virus, I would never have been able to regain my ability to walk. I am so grateful to Miss Holly, my physical therapist who tempered the pain with her warmth and her love, reading Dr. Seuss to me before every grueling session. If I would have listened to the physical pain I experienced training for the Boston Marathon and the pain I experienced during the run, I could never have crossed that finish line.

I spent many blogs talking about the emotional pain I needed to conquer to leave the past behind and become my authentic self - to heal mind, body and spirit. I did not focus on the physical pain I experienced because I knew if I did, I would not be able to carry on. When Janine and I were walking back from the finish line to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel she was asking me where I was hurting and how I was doing physically - she knew that emotionally I was overcome with joy and exhilaration. As I described the pain, I 'confessed' to her that I had not told her a lot of what I was experiencing during training - no need for confession - she knew that I was experiencing a lot more than what I had shared.

There were days when I could not lift one leg or the other because of pain; there were days when my knees would crack and lock; there were days when I could not turn over in bed because of the pain from training. On our 20 mile run in the 14 degree wind chill, I sustained a blister on the heel of my foot which was excrutiating for the last four miles of our training run. I knew in my gut that I had not sustained any injuries which required medical intervention although at times I did wonder, but as the pains would pass and different parts of my body experienced pain at different times, I knew this was the painful process of rebuilding muscle and nerve which had been damaged by polio and post polio. I would give Janine an inkling about what I was experiencing and she would make suggestions for new stretches, focusing on nutrition and hydration but at no point did we let up on the training. We did have to relinquish the strength training as the miles got longer and we did listen to what my body was saying - it was a delicate balance to say the least. But do you know the most amazing part in all of this? No matter how much pain I was experiencing, something truly magical happened when it was time to get out and run - I could do it. I did not miss one training session for the entire year due to sickness, injury or pain. That is a true miracle and a testament to the power of mental toughness.

To read the book of inspirational poetry which inspired my body to heal and enabled me to go from Post Polio to the finish line of the Boston Marathon, order "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" at

For Mother's Day, weddings, graduations and more
Order customized poems you won't find in the store
go to

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Wednesday, April 22, 2009

Did I Just Run the Boston Marathon - and Qualify?!

I thought that right after I ran the Boston Marathon I would be jumping on my blog to share all the magic of the day. I needed some time to really allow the enormity of what I have just accomplished to sink in. When I look back on April 2007, I was still wearing a leg brace and using a cane. When I look back on April 2008, I could not run for a minute straight and I remember running on Eliot Street toward home just for a minute and feeling as though I were really pushing myself. Janine, my beloved trainer, said - how are you going to handle it when the going gets tough during the Marathon? I remember seeing my heart rate at 168 - from just a minute of running. That was a far cry from the hill training we had done in preparation for the Marathon when my heart rate would go up to 175 and I was able to keep on with the training session. Sheer grit, faith, courage and determination and an amazing support network led Team McManus to the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon - you know it had been such a long road of preparation and signing off blogs with see you at the finish line and everything pointing to Monday that there is a surreal quality to the Marathon run now being behind me.

The going never got tough during the Marathon. I felt the love and prayers and support from so many friends and people I never met face to face but who sent loving prayers for the 26.2 mile journey of Team McManus.I knew with every ounce of my fiber that once I made it to the starting line, I was going to finish. I knew that I was running for Spaulding Rehab patients, I knew that I was running for polio and post polio patients everywhere and....I knew I was running for me. I knew that my year of hard work was now coming to fruition and I had one mission - to reach the finish line in under 8 hours so that there would be someone there to take the chip off my shoe and give me the medal signifying that I had run the 113th Boston Marathon.

The day began like any other - not! The alarm went off at 5 am. Weird dreams and waking up at 1, 3 and finally 5 did not distress me because I had slept so well on Saturday night - the important night to get a good night's sleep. Team McManus was in perfect rhythm making oatmeal and coffee, getting toast and water, putting the chips on our shoes - no arguments about me wanting to leave too early - we were all very eager to just get to our bus at Spaulding Rehab. There were hugs in the lobby and the mixture of excitement and nervousness. On the bus ride out I listened to Bernie Siegel's Meditation on my iPod. I closed my eyes to hear his voice to focus on preparing for the day but also because I did not want to see how long we were traveling to get to Hopkinton. Spirits were high on the bus ride out and after finishing my meditation, we chatted about just about anything we could think of other than what we all were about to do.

Spaulding's team shared the tent with Mass General. It was a heated tent with pre race refreshments. We took team pictures and at 8:30 walked to the start with Ashley Bronson, our incredible events coordinator. The sun was peeking out and warmed the cool morning air. I was drinking in the entire scene in awe that I, Mary McManus was at the starting line of the 113th Boston Marathon. Dave McGilvrey, race director, had us take our place at the start - we were not going over the mats and I had a wonderful focus for my anxiety - how would people track us if our chips did not go off and most importantly, how would they know our time? But those thoughts were quickly dismissed as we received the oral command - runner take your marks, get set, go.....

The first several miles felt like any other training run - the crowds were sparse through Hopkinton and there was a chill in the air reminiscent of our February training runs. As we approached Framingham, we saw one of our friends exactly where he said he would be but he couldn't see us across the street. No matter, we knew he was rooting for us. And on into Natick where we knew more friends were near the corner of Speen St and 135. Their presence was felt even though we did not actually see them and we journeyed on. Once we got to the Natick Reservoir, we knew that we had done this route before and that the hardest part of the journey was behind us - taking those first steps into unfamiliar territory.

From Natick it is a long stretch into Wellesley but the rewards of the Wellesley College girls is indescribable. You truly can hear the screams from a mile back. Somewhere around Wellesley, our dear friend Alison, store manager from Marathon Sports had caught up to us - how did she ever find us in the crowd? and said I love you Team McManus and went on her way. Tim Doiron aka Derv from Just Finish had also found us - he gave me a huge hug and even ran a little way with us. Members of our Race for Rehab team had also found us and we all wished each other well as we journeyed toward Boston.

The crowds are truly amazing. They could see that I was not a fast runner and unlike any other road race we have been in, the crowds seemed to sense that I had a special challenge. They would chant "Go Mary Go Mary" (ahh the benefits of Ashley patiently writing on my singlet and down my arm- the weather had warmed enough so I could run in my short sleeves). The generosity of the crowds was overwhelming - orange slices and bananas - these families took their time and resources to peel oranges and bananas and some even had their orange slices in individual baggies so we could carry them along. There were also cups of water and as we got closer to Boston - bottles of beer - but I digress.

Once we were in Wellesley, we knew we had it made. I know, I know all that talk about Heartbreak Hill and all. The motto slow and steady wins the race is so true! We did a four hour half - runners may cringe at a four hour half but there was a 27 mph head wind and it was chilly. I knew that today with the weather, a 15 minute mile was not possible for me and no reason to risk an injury now. Our goal was to make it to the finish line healthy and happy. I also ran the entire way walking only to go through water stations - amazing - absolutely amazing.We had run the route from Wellesley to Boston so many times and had an incredible psychological edge. Our team trainer, Dom, made us run up Grossman's Hill going from Brookline to Wellesley; what a joy to only have to run down the hill and then to know that Newton was just up ahead.

After turning from Rt 16 to Commonwealth Avenue, I looked for my friends, the Reilly's in front of the fire station. I thought that perhaps with the cold and wind and their two little ones, they needed to go home but shortly after we had turned, Sharon called me. Everyone on Twitter was frantic because we could not be tracked. As one of my dear friends, Nicole Shuman said, God works in creative ways. So Sharon got on Twitter and email'ed my friend Nicole to let them know we were almost at mile 20 and goin' strong.Somewhere before mile 20, my husband saw a sign that said, "Go Team McManus, Go Mary" and there was Janice Wesley and her husband waiting patiently for us to come by. She gave me a hug and a kiss and gave us the sign to carry to the finish.

At mile 20, there was Dom, our team trainer. He had tears in his eyes as he embraced Team McManus. He put his hands on my shoulders and said, 'you're gonna qualify - go finish. I'm so proud of you.' And then my cell phone rang - it was Janine and we found out where she was - as I saw her standing atop one of the inclines on Heartbreak Hill with her Spaulding Rehab t shirt and a white long sleeve shirt underneath, I saw an angel who was coming to take us to the finish line. She said she was amazed at how well I looked; I told her we went out slow and steady so we could finish. She was so proud of us and told me to stop even thinking about not doing a 15 minute mile - she said I needed to leave that and all the baggage on the marathon course. She was right!

At Cleveland Circle, my son Tommy, Joe Presser, our documentarian and Johannes, a BU photojournalism major were patiently waiting for us to come down Chestnut Hill Avenue and as we crossed to the Dunkin' Donuts our neighbors were waiting with another sign. Oh and speaking of signs - Bernie Siegel, MD sent me an email telling me that I would find a penny - it would be from him and God telling me everything was all right. I found a penny in Wellesley. I told Janine this story as we were walking from the finish line back to the Mandarin Oriental Hotel and just then she looked down and there was another penny. I added it to the 27 cents and the Six Sense that I carried with me in the back pocket of my capris. The air was getting colder and more raw as we approached Kenmore Square but the crowds were really heating up, and we knew the finish was in sight. Running under the underpass on Comm Ave, Janine let out a scream and encouraged us to do the same just as we had at the Tufts 10K. And when we came up out of the underpass there was Hereford Street and one of Ruth Anne's dear friends, CG who had been a staunch supporter in so many ways during our journey. After getting a hug, Ruth Anne joined us to take the left on Boylston Street. I began to sob seeing the lights of the finish line in the distance. I ran down Boylston Street with all of my might and Team McManus crossed the finish line at 7:45 I believe. We don't have our official time yet and even though the chips could not be tracked, the BAA had all of our splits starting with the 5K. We went over to have our chips removed and receive the prize for which we had worked so hard - a pewter medal signifying that we ran 26.2 miles from Hopkinton to Boston on April 20, 2009.

To purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry which helped inspire my body to heal on the journey from post polio to the Boston Marathon, log onto I donate 20% to the Spaulding Rehab Post Polio Fund.

While you're visiting after ordering a copy of my book, be sure to check out samples of my customized poetry for all occasions - It's more than a's a gift from the heart.

There's still time to donate to Team McManus -

Saturday, April 18, 2009

A Very Different Kind of Saturday - Two Days to Go

When my alarm went off at 7 am this morning, I had a sudden realization that there was no need to set my alarm clock. There was no reason to jump out of bed at 7 am, turn on the kettle for oatmeal, start my husband's coffee, pop in the toast, get my orange juice and load up the fuel belts; there was no reason to check the weather, see what I needed to wear and to make sure the other members of Team McManus were awake. This is the first Saturday in a year that Team McManus got to relax on a Saturday -- but it was a bit of a challenge to relax knowing that in just 48 hours, we will be taking our place at the starting line of the 113th Boston Marathon.

I am so blessed with God's grace - an early start, an incredible outpouring of emails and Tweets and phone calls ... As we drove into Boston to the Race Expo, streets were blocked, cars were backed up and it looked as though there were no parking spaces to be had. We were considering driving out to Beacon Street and taking the train in but as someone pulled into a parking space across the street, I knew to be patient, have faith and to know that one would open up. I learned a long time ago about manifesting parking spaces - rather than focus on ooh I just missed that one, I know there is abundance for all. {I even have a poem in my book of Inspirational Poetry called "Abundance for All" using parking spaces as a wonderful metaphor for life's lessons}. And a parking space did open up - right around the corner from the Hynes Convention Center where we needed to go. We were looking for Team Hoyt and went down an aisle to find Colin, my friend from Mizuno. He apologized for not having sent out my package of goodies and gave us gloves and t shirts - so cool and hugged us and wished us all a great day on Monday. We even got to see Tommy and Dottie Kelley again (we met them on our return trip from Puerto Rico in January - that's Johnny Kelley's nephew for those who are new to my blog). They were volunteering and handing out numbers. We were looking everywhere for them and just as we were about to leave - there they were right at the entrance to the number pick up.

Synchronicity and synergy abound and Team McManus is ready to take their place at the start of the 113th Boston Marathon and to celebrate the journey of 26.2 miles to the finish line on Boylston Street on Monday, April 20th, 2009 - oh and to all the front runners - don't be lulled into a sense of security when you pass us on the course - we're gonna pour it on when we get to Boylston Street! Here's to a safe and happy run for all the runners in the 113th Boston Marathon - 13 is a very lucky number!

God bless and see you at the finish line!

To order a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" visit I donate 20% to Spaulding Rehab's International Rehab Center for Polio.

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Wednesday, April 15, 2009

Look Beyond Appearances & Find the Treasure Inside

Good things come in small packages; you can't judge a book by its cover - we've all heard these sayings but do we truly believe them? Don't we look at the stars of stage, screen and television and wished we looked just like they do - the perfect face and body, hair and makeup or for the men the suave, debonair, perfectly groomed or perhaps rugged look. We hold these people up as icons and value their 'perfection'.

On Twitter this morning and all across the net, there is a buzz about Susan Boyle Tony Robbins tweeted about Be inspired & remember to never to judge a persons capability too quickly!...(By the way, it has had over 5 million views!)

For decades, as a polio survivor, I felt less than, ugly, different, like an outcast because of my limp, needing to wear a brace and funny polio shoes. I was always judged based on my appearance - braces on my teeth, short straight hair and was taunted and teased by my peers. I grew to hate my body and developed my academic prowess. What a price I paid!

God in all of Her glorious wisdom, gave me the gift of post polio syndrome to at last have a chance to heal the wounds of polio and an abusive childhood. I had to learn to love and cherish myself just as I was - brace, cane, at times a wheelchair, overweight and definitely out of shape (mind, body and spirit). But if I didn't learn to love myself just as I was, I could never have embarked on this healing journey to become the shining star of my life.

An online dictionary defines star in two ways:
Star - a celestial body of hot gases that radiates energy derived from thermonuclear reactions in the interior
ace: someone who is dazzlingly skilled in any field

In just five days, I will be taking my place at the starting line of the 113th Boston Marathon.
In February of 2008, I wrote a poem dedicated to my personal trainer Janine Hightower called, "Follow the Star". Before experiencing polio as a child, I loved ballet. I was a beautiful little ballerina - a vision in pink tutu, pink tights and those little black ballet shoes. I was flexible, graceful, and so light on my feet. I adored my ballet teacher Miss Patricia. Polio had taken my dream of being able to work up to being on point and being the star of a ballet, but it did not take my dream of emerging as a beautiful, whole, graceful, shining star on the stage of life. When I wrote this poem, I had no idea that I would be taking center stage at the 113th Boston Marathon to be a shining star of hope for those who are facing incredible challenges, and to be so blessed to raise money for Spaulding Rehab Hospital.

Follow the Star
Dedicated to my personal trainer – Janine Hightower

Stairs looming – my Mt. Everest I faced them with such dread
“Would my muscles make the climb?” - the thought inside my head.
Hug banister so tightly – my lifeline – climber's rope
Lead-like legs – they'd find their way – up the staircase slope.

Grateful I can do it and for all things great and small
But tired of the struggle not to mention fear of fall.
“I sent a training angel – you know her, she's your friend
To help your muscles strengthen – on her you can depend.”

Unsure of what was possible – unsteady on my feet
But pictures dancing in my head of graceful times so sweet.
A ballet star at 4 years old, but virus snuffed its light
So God sent me an angel – for healing now in sight.

The gift of caring for myself – unleash the fear and doubt
Allow this loving angel to help turn the tide about.
My mind transforms the body while love transforms my soul
I feel Your strength within me – broken places now made whole.

I'm a prima ballerina filled with confidence and Grace
Muscles work in tandem – center stage is now my space!
This joyous journey of my life-Your guiding star takes lead
The soul now healed, the heart renewed my body now be freed.

No matter what life challenges you have experienced or may be experiencing right now, be sure to always remember that you are a beautiful shining star. We all possess that energy which comes from Source - the Love which helps to propel us on life's journey to sparkle and light the way for others.
To quote Nelson Mandela, " And as we let our own light shine, we unconsciously give other people permission to do the same"

See you at the finish line!
God bless!

Be sure to order my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings: Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". 20% is donated to the Spaulding Rehab polio fund. Order now through

And speaking of Spaulding Rehab - we are almost to 10K - you can donate at

Mother's Day, Weddings, Graduations and More
Order customized poetry you won't find in any store It's more than a card...It's a gift from the heart!

Monday, April 13, 2009

Anticipation and a Wave of Gratitude

In seven days from right now, Team McManus will be nearing the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon. There is excitement and anticipation and how am I anticipating that Marathon Monday will be for me and Team McManus? This morning I woke up feeling a twinge of fear and anxiety - after all I am pretty far outside of my comfort zone and then peace and a beautiful meditation replaced the fear. I saw my quad muscles as golden braids lovingly created by God; every sinew of the muscle has been infused with God's light and love and has all the nutrients and energy ready to run 26.2 miles. I saw my gluts as being overflowing with strength and being poised and ready to get me through Heartbreak Hill. My bones are so strong; the callouses on my feet are there as padding to support me on this amazing journey and I have plenty of foam insulation in my joints to absorb the shock of the pounding on the asphalt. {p.s. I just googl'ed sinew and learned that it means tendon - I visualized sinew as the striations in the muscle - still could be been awhile since I took biology but there are 2 other meanings for sinew - Vigorous strength; muscular power.The source or mainstay of vitality and strength so it was a perfect image.}

When the dark and dreary thoughts try to rear their head,one of my favorite tools to use is gratitude - whenever I begin to feel a knot in my stomach, I transform it with thoughts of gratitude. I realized that my fear around road closures and not being able to get to Spaulding to board the bus for Hopkinton was a reaction to feeling as though I would be blocked/barricaded from experiencing the absolute joy and excitement in this challenge for which Team McManus spent the last year preparing for. So if that thought pops up I say, "Thank You God for getting us to Spaulding Rehab with great ease on Marathon Monday". If I am afraid my alarm won't go off I say, "Thank You God for making sure that I wake up at 5 am". If I start to focus on anxiety around finances because, after all, being a self employed entrepreneur and an author requires a lot of faith and belief in what I am doing, I say, "Thank You God for providing for my every need. Thank You for the resources to pay my bills. Thank You for being so blessed that I can give back to Spaulding Rehab through the sale of my book. Thank You for inspiring me to find ways to generate income. Thank You for all of my clients and readers and Thank You for sources of income both expected and unexpected.Thank You God for my husband's wonderful job at Childrens Hospital." And while I'm on the subject of money, I read a beautiful blog post by Vision Runner at She talks about money as truly meaningless in and of itself;it is a way to express gratitude. We pay a mortgage to express our gratitude for the home we live in; we give someone a tip which is a gratuity to say thank you for good service, and to receive more money, it is important to have the confidence that more is on its way through being generous and giving.

I am surrounded by so much love and support that it would take me a lifetime to express the gratitude toward everyone who has been blessing this journey. I realize that I have blessed others with my courage, faith, determination and the miracle of healing that I have co-created with God. On April 20, 2009 I anticipate perfect weather, a perfect morning of preparation, joy and excitement beyond anything I could ever imagine and God's perfect Love shining on Team McManus and all the amazing runners who will take to the road to run the 113th Boston Marathon.

To celebrate National Poetry Month, be sure to purchase a copy of my book, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World" at 20% of the proceeds go to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund

Remember Mom - it's less than a month to Mother's Day - be sure to order your customized poem to tell mom just how special she is - go to to see samples of what I can create for you. And for all of your Spring and Summer occasions, order a poem from New World Greeting Cards where "It's more than a card, It's a gift from the heart."

It's not too late to donate to Team McManus - visit and make your donation - even though we reached our goal, we're not stopping! Spaulding Rehab - where remarkable recoveries like mine happen every day.

God bless and see you at the finish line

Saturday, April 11, 2009

Six Sense

No - I did not misspell cents - I found a penny and a nickel on our last training run today. The nickel was right outside of Marathon Sports on Beacon Street - the magical place where I began this transformation from polio survivor to athlete. We ran from there to Hereford Street and not wanting to a. extend our time or b. cross the finish line before next Monday, we turned around to run back out Commonwealth Avenue to Beacon Street.

On our return trip, I thought I saw a penny and picked it up but it turned out to be an old piece of gum round, flat, and without my glasses (it's too uncomfortable to run with glasses and I can see well enough without them thanks be to God and a good cataract surgery outcome) it looked like a penny. Ahhh...don't be deceived is what God was telling me. And a little further down the street, there was a shiny penny. So six cents I noticed -- hmmm - let me check the dates to see if they have any significance. 1994-2001 - wow that's seven years and I know seven is a mystical number - cool. And then it hit me - Six Sense - Sixth sense - God is telling me relinquish these fears that are emerging as I experience a case of pre race nerves and just trust. I heard Obi Wan Kenobi say to Luke Skywalker, "Trust the Force Luke" and know that when I use 'the Force' and follow my intuition and trust in God, all is well and in Divine Order.

My case of nerves last night manifested as me focusing on road closures - yup - that's right - of all things one can fret about a week before a Marathon - me I was afraid I was going to miss the bus out to Hopkinton. Now of course, our events coordinator is amazing and she sent out an email with meticulous details about Marathon logistics. If there were going to be road closures, would she tell us that we could drive or get dropped off at Spaulding where the bus leaves at 6:30 am? Of course not but the fear drove me and I decided to check in to just make sure that we would be able to get there by car. Even after I received email confirmation from the Vice President of Development that Storrow Drive is open and there are no road closures at that time in the morning, I was searching the internet for the list of road closures. I observed myself behaving in this maniacal fashion - and finally, in my exhaustion, I turned it over to God. When I shared my case of pre race nerves with our wonderful Spaulding trainer, Domenick D'Amico, he reassured me that at that time the only street we cannot go down is Boylston Street.

Where did I learn this behavior of control and it's one thing to be prepared and make sure that all our ducks are in a row - I have a bag packed with gels/gu, hats and gloves which I am praying we are not going to need - the hats and gloves that is - I know we'll need the gels and gu; and at the suggestion of Domenick, 3 trash bags to keep us warm up to the starting line. That is behavior which brings me a sense of comfort and joy and excitement and anticipation. The controlling, obsessive thoughts bring only grief. I am so blessed to be surrounded by love and support. My daughter and husband hold up a mirror to me and I am able to laugh at my behaviors.

But I also want to continue to honor and cherish myself in spite of these behaviors. I dropped like a stone (as it says in my poem "Running the Race") and my life was forever changed. Polio and then post polio syndrome were my greatest challenges and greatest blessings and I continue to heal the fears and sense of uncertainty that accompanied the polio and all that followed in a chaotic childhood. And each time I conquer a sense of fear, the depth of love that replaces it is truly magical and mystical; I also learn to deepen my faith and capacity to trust in the goodness and love of God and a wonderful Universe where magic and miracles happen. After all, I'm living proof of that! And God has sent me/us so many incredible signs from money found to the weather (how many times have we said, boy were we lucky to get in our training run - just to keep us on our toes God just had to throw in torrential rain and snow and ice and wind chills but you know what I think? I think God did that so that we would feel such ease on Marathon Monday when there is going to be perfect weather for a run).

As I run through each town along the 26.2 mile route from Hopkinton to Boston, I leave behind a part of my old self and as I cross the finish line, I begin another journey of wonderful adventures continuing to transform and grow in peace, faith, joy, love and overflowing happiness.

Marathon Monday

It's Marathon Monday, it's my day to shine
with husband and daughter poised at starting line.
I know I can do this - there's no way to fail
tethered to God through this race I can sail.

For over a year, we've trained from our heart
Mind, body, spirit - we're ready to start.
We know the course and we know the terrain
We're primed for the challenge - we know they'll be pain.

The glory's far greater than what we may face
We're living examples of God's shining Grace.
Shake out all the nerves - there's nothing to fear
Let in all the love from the crowds as they cheer.

With prayers and angels our feet feel so light
Joy overflowing the finish in sight.
We conquered the course fueled by love in our heart
The race had been won blessed by God from the start.

For more of my wonderful poetry, log onto Purchase a book of my inspirational poetry and donate to a good cause - 20% of the proceeds is donated to Spaulding Rehab's polio fund. Be sure to order your customized poetry for weddings, graduations, Mother's Day, Father's Day, birthdays, anniversaries and all the celebrations that Spring and Summer hold.

Be sure to donate to Team McManus by going to

God bless and yes Virginia there is a Patriot's Day - see you at the finish line!

Thursday, April 9, 2009

Positivity - My Fueling Plan for Mind and Spirit

Everyone's blogs are addressing pre race fueling, what to eat for breakfast, how to fuel during the Marathon so I decided that since I've done everything I can to train my body and am now in the taper mode (hey listen to me, I sound just like a real runner), I need to talk about fueling the mind and the spirit.

What am I doing these next 10 days leading up to race day to fuel the mind and spirit? I am watching Steve Runner's videos at which fuels my excitement about race day. I am reading my friend's blogs (Tim Doiron, blogs on and recently joined the community at I am reading stories of inspiration and positivity. I am listening to music which fuels my journey - "As I Am" by Kristen Chenowith, "This is the Moment" from Jekyll and Hyde sung by (okay don't laugh it works for me) Donny Osmond - such powerful words and I believe that was the theme song for one of the Olympics. I listen to Country 102.5 and my daughter and I are watching You Tube videos of Sugarland. I am watching You Tube videos of Ball In The House and next Friday, 4/17 we are going to a benefit concert that they are playing for someone who came to our benefit concert a month ago - as a side bar, I have no idea where the time has flown. So how is this poet/entrepreneur going to be spending the next 10 days leading up to the 113th running of the Boston Marathon?

I am editing my 2nd book of inspirational poetry, "Set Sail for a New World" and today, I just found out that the Brookline Tab is doing a major article on my journey on the Road to the Boston Marathon - one year later.They did a story on May 8 when I declared that with every fiber in my being I would run the Boston Marathon. I am creating customized poetry for my clients of New World Greeting Cards and going on Twitter to connect with positive Twitter friends. I am writing articles for The Diva Toolbox and to share my story of inspiration which helps to bless and inspire others while continuing to keep my positivity levels high. I understand that on Marathon Monday, the positivity factor is off the charts - it is the time leading up to the Marathon when all the hard labor is behind me that I need to fuel myself with positivity. I banish fears and worries when they creep in to try to take hold (I do miss those endorphins from the long runs). I am going to a yoga class tonight and have two sessions scheduled with Janice, energy healer extraordinaire. And of course, I will continue to blog.

To help keep me extra busy during these next ten days, why not order customized poetry from for those special people and special occasions in your life. And while you're visiting my website, order a copy or two or three of my book of inspirational poetry. 20% of the proceeds is donated to Spaulding Rehab's polio fund.

You can still donate to Team McManus by visiting

See you at the finish line!
God bless

Sunday, April 5, 2009

Why April is My Favorite Month & A Sign During Yesterday's 10.5 Mile Run

National Poetry Month, the running of the Boston Marathon, opening day at Fenway Park, birds singing, buds blooming, warm sunshine - the world transforms in April and this year, after crossing the finish line of the 113th Boston Marathon, I feel as though I will have moved through this amazing time of transformation in my life. I'm so grateful to have you along on this journey. Since we've talked a lot about the journey on the Road to the Boston Marathon and I've shared my poetic reflections with you after training runs, I thought today I would share with you the magic of poetry of in my life. Ahh, but before I do - I must share with you the most amazing sign during yesterday's 10.5 mile taper run.

As we were heading out along Beacon Street here in Brookline, Mass., I saw a penny. Those of you who have read my blog know that we have had a lot of signs with finding money while we trained. There were a herd of runners behind us and I knew that if I stopped to pick this penny up, I could get trampled and then where would I be after a year of training and being on the threshold of running the Marathon. So I felt God's Presence and ran on. While on Heartbreak Hill, my daughter stopped in her tracks. Buried in the crack in the sidewalk on Heartbreak Hill, my daughter spotted a quarter - not just any quarter but a quarter dedicated to Helen Keller. Her quotes and life story have always been a major source of inspiration to me and Bernie Siegel, MD (who through the years has been a guiding healing light for me) has quoted her so many times in his talks, books and on his forum. During the last two miles of our training run, we found two more pennies - 27 cents! Not 26 but 27 so God is letting us know that we have what we need to go the distance....

The magic of poetry in my life - ahhh - I could write for days about what poetry has done to transform my life and has brought joy, healing, comfort and inspiration to those whose lives I've been blessed to touch, so I will need to ask God for the inspiration to keep this short. Ever since my twins were in kindergarten, I discovered the joy of writing poetry for special occasions. Throughout the years, I would write poems to commemorate special events in the lives of our family and friends and everyone said, 'you should work for Hallmark.' I didn't even give it a second thought until that day in February 2007, when I felt the urge to create and the poem, "Running the Race" just flowed out of me.

Late summer 1958 my kindergarten year
Everyone around me filled with nervous fear
Despite the Salk vaccine hope polio would disappear
The polio virus crept right up and knocked me in the rear.

Dancing all around the gym feeling free just like a bird
I dropped to the ground just like a stone and no one said a word.
The pain it was so searing-the diagnosis even worse
"It's polio" the doctor said...he was abrupt and terse.

Called one of the 'lucky ones' I had a 'mild case'
But with the other athletes I could never keep their pace.
Miss Holly physical therapist, curly hair and a warm, broad smile
It tempered the pain of being apart - to walk I'd take awhile.

I always wore those 'special' shoes the kids they poked and teased
With no support and much abuse with childhood I wasn't pleased.
But put nose to the grindstone and learned all that I could
I couldn't kick a ball but my grades were always good.

Years went by and no more thought to polio did I give
I accepted the limp and everything else and decided my life I would live.
But symptoms of weakness and muscle pain did grow
I kept a stoic face hoping no one else would know.

Life no longer was my own I struggled through each day
Suffered in silence, isolated from friends-trying to keep depression at bay.
And with the grace of glorious God my world it opened wide
I discovered there was a Post Polio team and they were on my side.

Using wheelchair to travel, set limits on what I could do,
Resulted in joy to realize I could live life anew.
Celebrated my body- creaks, groans and need for a brace
While in my mind I focused on winning a 10K race.

Sought out paths for healing and my spirit flew free
For the first time in life, I could truly be me.
The chains are gone and possibilities abound
I'm a tree with my roots planted firmly in ground.

I'm now off the sidelines, no need to sit and whine
So much gratitude fills my heart and love and beauty shine.
After all these years I can join the loving human race
I exceed all expectations and now I set the pace.

With this poem, God instructed me to begin to love myself and to imagine the possibilities and before I knew what was happening to me, I had a book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". I publish a poem of the week from my book on my website

In addition to writing inspirational poems, I discovered this incredible talent to create customized poetry to celebrate, heal, invite, thank. name it, I can weave your sentiments into a customized poem. You just tell me what it is you want to convey via email or a phone conversation and within a few short days I create a poem unique to the person and/or occasion. For really great fun, I collaborate with Cool Dog Productions and we do a video eCard;as an added bonus, it's eco-friendly.

I'm having more fun than the law allows and can you imagine? National Poetry Month and the running of the Boston Marathon all wrapped up into the gift of April - no wonder why April is my favorite month!

Be sure to order your copy of New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World by going to Remember - I donate 20% of the proceeds of the sales to Spaulding Rehab's Polio Fund.

Check out the samples of my customized poems at and be sure to contact me so we can create a new world of greeting cards just for you!

It's not too late to donate to Team McManus and their run for the Boston Marathon - visit

See you at the finish line - in just two weeks - wow!
God bless,

Saturday, April 4, 2009

Team McManus' Top Ten

Well today marked Team McManus last long run before we run the Marathon - here are our Top Ten Quotes of what we actually said during our training runs:

10. We're almost there people.
9. Are you sure you calculated the miles right?
8. Where the f**** are we?
7. You're off the team (of 3 people)!
6. The Gu got all over everything.
5. What's for lunch (at 9 o'clock in the morning).
4. You're going too fast - wait for me!
3. This has got to be more than ____ miles.
2. Come on people (waving us to cross the street).
1. Are we there yet?

Honorable Mentions:
Look how lucky we were with the weather (if it started to rain/snow/sleet right when we finished).
STOP there's a penny.
I'm not talking to you.
Don't talk to me.
Stop singing.
We're gonna run out of water.

Top Ten Reasons You Know You're Ready to Run Boston:
10. You realize you're running and not swimming, so you finally decide to shave your legs
9. You no longer ask to stop and get a muffin at Peets coffee.
8. You don't absent mindedly run into traffic watching your time and heart monitor.
7. Forty degrees feels warm.
6. You look forward to getting up early on Sat. and going for a long run.
5. You actually know the mileage calculations.
4. You don't hum Rocky's theme going up Heartbreak Hill
3. You can run 10.5 miles and not pee.
2. Running 10.5 miles feels like nothing.
1. You stop saying all the quotes (see above).

Well folks - we're ready!

Thursday, April 2, 2009

I've Come A Long Way Baby!!!! {but couldn't have done it without a lot of help along the way}

An incredible luxury today to relax and just run at an even, slow pace chatting with Ruth Anne and Janine and taking a look back at how far I've come -- did I ever think that running could be effortless and fun? Today the answer is a resounding YES! We talked about what makes an athlete - is it the winning or is it the grit, courage, determination, unwavering faith and believe in yourself and working hard at every turn to be the best you can possibly be - Janine told me that I embodied the spirit of being an athlete. Athlete and Mary McManus in the same sentence - wow!

October 15, 2007 - first training session with Janine
October 16,2007 - left for Bermuda for a vacation and every muscle in my body was wracked with pain. I could barely stand up to go to the rest room on the plane. What was I thinking? In truth, I hurt anyway; I could barely stand up anyway so what difference did it make? I'd stick with this and see what happened. I may as well hurt moving forward rather than hurting and keeping the status quo.
February 2008 - went to Marathon Sports and bought my first pair of running shoes ever! Thank you Spencer Aston for being so patient and finding the perfect pair of running shoes and figuring out that a heel lift was necessary to ensure running comfort. First time I ever ran on a treadmill - I just did it!
mid-March 2008 - Jogged outside for the first time in my life!
Summer 2008 - ran continuously for a half an hour
June 1, 2008 - ran my first road race - The Corrib Pub 5K - Thank you to all the wonderful supporters along the route and to Georgia and Paul for psyching us up before the race
Summer 2008 - Marathon Sports 5 Miler Thank you Alison for making sure I was doing okay and for being there at the water stations. Thanks to everyone at Marathon Sports who cheered me on as I finished last.
October 13, 2008 - Tufts 10K - Thank you to my daughter Ruth Anne for being so patient and loving and for helping us to have the most perfect running day ever (2nd only to the Boston Marathon of course)
November 30, 2008 - Tough Ten Mile Turkey Trot - Thank you to all the supporters who cheered me on as I finished last and for starting the race with a beautiful prayer.
February 2009 - 17.2 Mile Long Run from Natick to Boston - thank you Tom for not giving up on that day despite feeling lousy.
Hyannis Half Marathon - thanks to Paulie, Bill Rodgers, Frank Shorter, Ric Beaudoin, Tim Doiron and all the incredible people we met during the weekend. Thanks to the Hyannis Conference Center for the room renovations which made our stay so pleasurable.
March 28, 2009 - 21 mile long run - thank you Dom for all of your guidance, love, support, and encouragement as we departed from Marathon Sports to do our long runs. Thank you to the staff at the Wellesley Marathon Sports store for letting us refill our water bottles, use the bathroom and for providing us with so much support when we'd use the store for our pit stop.
April 2, 2009 - Last training session with Janine Hightower. Janine - you have been with Team McManus every step we have taken along this Road to the Boston Marathon. You have been a friend, a confidante, a tough trainer, a supporter, a cheerleader, a fund raiser and our gratitude to you just overflows. Thank you for the taper plan - it's funny how we are going back to not measuring miles but measuring time of a run. We have come full circle in the training but we are so strong, and so ready to run the 113th Boston Marathon thanks in great part to your loving guidance and incredible skill.

Thank you to the staff at Spaulding Rehab - to Ashley - for listening to my angst and anxiety and for guiding us through the wonderful world of fund raising. Suzanne - thanks for reminding me how much I inspire you - when I felt depleted and sore and ready to just give in, I realized that I could not afford to because I am inspiring you and so many people. Thank you for choosing Team McManus to run on the Race for Rehab team.

It's great to look back and see in fact how far I've come! Janine was wondering if she did everything she could to prepare us for the Boston Marathon and after today's gentle 40 minute run around the reservoir, she realized that she had. As we looked back, we noted how I made every single training run for the past year. We are healthy as we approach the starting line. She incorporated strength training, core training, hills, tempo runs, sprints and helped me to transform myself from polio survivor to athlete. I continue to integrate this new image of myself from being a sedentary person to one who is alive and active. Thank you to Janice Wesley - angel energy healer whose gift of being an intuitive and the gift of healing hands has blessed me mind, body and spirit along this road to the Boston Marathon.

It's now time to rest, hydrate, pay exquisite attention to nutrition and mentally and spiritually prepare for April 20th, 2009. It's time to celebrate the hard work, sweat and tears I've put in during the past 19 months. It's time now to give thanks to God for blessing me with the miracle of healing and sending so many wonderful angels to guide me along this journey. Thank you Ruth Anne and Tom for signing on for the adventure of a lifetime. And thank you to Tom Jr for your help and support on the weekends.

For more information on Janine Hightower, log onto

April is National Poetry Month (in addition to being the month of the Boston Marathon), log onto and check out my Poetic Reflections on the Journey. While you're there, be sure to purchase a copy of my book of inspirational poetry, "New World Greetings:Inspirational Poetry and Musings for a New World". Contact me to order your customized poetry for your spring and summer events.

To donate to Team McManus and help us reach our new goal of over 10K - log onto